Scores of OUC customers – commercial and residential – interested in making the transition from oil to electrons went behind the wheel of Teslas, Chevrolets, Mitsubishis, BMWs and Nissans at OUC’s inaugural Electric Car Guest Drive in June.

Held at Camping World Stadium, the event allowed drivers to take an eVoyage in one of eight different electric vehicles (EVs) to see how they performed on the road. A 10-minute drive in Tesla’s top-of-the-line vehicle included a demonstration of the vehicle’s battery range, handling ability and safety features. One participant said, “I never knew driving an EV could be so fun – the acceleration was smooth and quick!” Educational representatives were on hand to answer questions about leasing and purchasing EVs, including battery-range, gas-backup availability, and scheduled maintenance. And, OUC employees explained how EV charging stations work, best times to charge vehicles, and where charging stations can be found.

OUC has long championed EVs and installed more than 150 public charging stations in our service territory. In 2012, Orlando was named one of the Top 10 Most EV-Ready Cities in the United States by the makers of PlugShare, a mobile app that helps EV owners find charging stations. In 2016, the utility began offering EV rebates to residential customers to offset the cost of buying an EV. OUC introduced commercial options for business owners to provide chargers for customers and internal fleets.

OUC also maintains its own fleet of 42 hybrids, 11 all- electric vehicles, and several hybrid aerial bucket trucks.

A recent American Automobile Association survey found that 20% of the population — or 50 million Americans — say their next car will be an EV. The vehicles are gaining popularity because “range anxiety” is decreasing as charge ranges increase, with some models capable of traveling more than 100 miles on a single charge.

The Electric Car Guest Drive is organized by Electric Car Insider magazine.